NBC: Overall, the past 10 years have seen China's fastest economic growth thanks in part to a benign international environment and trading system. With due respect, Premier Wen, in your last year in office, if you would have one thing that you can be allowed to do to re-balance the U.S.-China economic relationship that can create American jobs for example, in keeping with the award bestowed to you recently in Boston by the International Longshoremen's Association, then what is the thing that you would like to do? Would you consider, for example, reforming China's trade regime that some American critics say distorts global competition in China's favor?
Wen Jiabao: Not long ago, the International Longshoremen's Association in the United States gave me the award of "Best Friend of the American Worker." I am the recipient of this award, but I would rather see this award as a strong example showing that the business relationship between China and the United States is of mutual benefit.
You asked me if there is one thing that I can do to ease the trade imbalance between China and the United States, what would it be? As a matter of fact, I have been thinking about this issue for a long time. In 2009 and 2011, I had thorough exchanges of views with President Barack Obama of the United States. I believe to ease the trade imbalance between the two countries and resolve the difficulties and frictions in our business ties, we still need to rely on cooperation.
For that purpose, I have set out to the U.S. side a package proposal that suggests the two countries embrace stronger business, financial and investment cooperation. The main contents of my proposal are as follows:
First, we need to further enhance two-way trade between China and the United States. China is ready to buy more from the United States, and the United States needs to ease its restrictions on the export of certain goods to China. Second, the two countries should work together to increase mutual investment. Both sides need to create favorable conditions for mutual investment and protect such investments. Third, we need to enhance cooperation in hi-tech fields covering new materials, new energy sources, energy conservation, environmental protection, aviation and space so that we can open up new dimensions for China-U.S. cooperation. Fourth, we need to enhance our cooperation in infrastructure development, and bring it in line with our financial cooperation. That means China is ready to invest in the infrastructure construction in the United States, and that will help generate local jobs. I believe this is of mutual benefit.
President Obama has attached high importance to my proposal, and competent authorities of the two sides are studying it. I believe that cooperation is better than confrontation. As long as we continue to move in this right direction, the business ties between China and the United States will enjoy sustained and sound growth.
With respect to your question concerning possible reform of China's trading system, I would like to make three points:
First, on the basic balance between imports and exports, I would like to tell you that in 2011, the current account surplus of China as a share of the GDP came down to 2.8 percent, which is below the 3 percent level that is internationally recognized as appropriate. This shows that China has achieved basic equilibrium in its international balance of payments and trade in goods.
Second, the Renminbi exchange rate is of high interest to the U.S. side. Since we launched the reform of the Renminbi exchange rate formation mechanism in 2005, the real effective exchange rate of the Chinese currency has appreciated by about 30 percent. I want to draw your attention to such a phenomenon, that is, since last September, the Renminbi exchange rate has experienced two-way flotation on the Hong Kong NDF market. This shows that the Renminbi exchange rate may have approached an equilibrium level. We will press ahead with the reform of the Renminbi exchange rate formation mechanism. In particular, we welcome greater elasticity of the Renminbi exchange rate.
Third, we will adhere to the purpose of the Doha round negotiations, support free trade and oppose protectionism.